Every year the FAD charity gives the chance for university students to enter their graduate collection in a competition. Each year the charity collaborates with a designer to set the brief and put on this unique showcase. This Aw17 in its 15th year FAD collaborated with the iconic knitwear designer Angela Missoni.
The brief this year, ‘Art/ Design/ Colour’ , challenged the young designers to approach their work with Missoni in mind, taking inspiration from European art and molding it to take a different shape. I was excited to see what this year’s finalists had to offer.
40 UK universities produced over 120 entrants that took part and it must have been a difficult job to narrow it down to the lucky 20 we were left with that were able to showcase their stunning work.
Out of the 20, there could only be one overall winner and two runners-up but even being shortlisted was to be seen as an honor. Zoe Leach of Manchester Fashion Institute received a special mention for her expertly finished garments, which made modern use of historical techniques and merged movement and fluidity. These designs were definitely amongst, if not, my favorite of all the finalists.
The two runners up who received £500 pounds each were Sarah Carter of Bath Spa university, who made clever use of colour and stripe and Sophie Watling who really made the brief her own and translated it into a two piece menswear collection that was modern, fun and street wear inspired.
The first place winner was awarded to Amy Carter a Fashion Knitwear designer at Nottingham Trent University. I was really impressed by her take on the brief and interpreted as skiwear chic. FAD jury member Liz Griffiths, Head of Creative Textile and Design Research at Missoni explained why Amy was chosen to win the £1000 cash prize: “Amy’s collection was beautifully finished, she had a fantastic sense of colour and she had mixed stitches and different approaches to knitted fabrics together. It was very different, the way she mixed and put them together, but they worked. Amy’s work was innovative, even though it was also very commercial and sellable, and we liked that. And also the sense of colour was not normal, it was a little bit different, and Angela Missoni loved it too.”
It was clear to see to why every one of those students was picked, the artistry and craftsmanship that was displayed was extraordinary and the hard work they went through was certainly appreciated by the audience. Everyone that showcased was a deserving winner and I look forward to seeing what they produce in the future as they’ve shown it is bound to be bright. This is such a fantastic opportunity for young designers that I just knew the show would be brilliant but it exceeded my expectations – it was definitely one of my favorites this season!